Writing a Science Fiction Novel

As I hope you know, I’m in the process of writing my C.A.T. novel. There is an interesting story why I ended up writing this novel the way I did, which I hope will act as a useful tip to other budding novelists.

I was writing a straightforward space adventure novel. Nothing out of the ordinary or special as measured by science fiction standards. One of the four main characters was doing all the expected things he needed to do and nothing more, no character, no internal conflict because of the situation he found himself in and no behavioural tick that would make him do even a little something unusual to add to the story. So in order to give him some colour, I gave him a robo-cat. It was literally a walk-on and walk-off part.

A few chapters later, I found another use for the that robo-cat. I thought good. It moved the plot on very nicely.

Within a few more chapters that damned robo-cat was appearing in nearly every chapter. Worse, I had friends, who read and commented on my drafts, that they wanted to know more about the robo-cat. So I had to have a discussion with it. It could have its own story if it left my novel alone.

What kind of story could I give it? Well, the obvious one was how it came into existence. That story was Agents of Repair, which was published in Issue 29 of the Jupiter Magazine (the issue was entitled Thyone, which is the 29th moon of the planet Jupiter). I went back to my novel.

Then I realised I had a gap in my knowledge about the robo-cat. How did it come from where I had left it in Agents of Repair to hook up with my character? Well, I couldn’t write that into my novel as I had started the novel with them already together. So I ended up writing about how they got together. This story was to form my portfolio for my application to do an MA Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, for which I was accepted. During that course, I subbed the story to TWB Press and it was accepted for a stand-alone e-publication, simply entitled C.A.T.

Good, I thought, I now had the background to carry on my novel. At this point I got distracted from the novel on my Creative Writing course to start a completely different novel, which as it turns out follows a similar development arc to this novel (more about that novel in another post).

But I couldn’t leave C.A.T alone. Two sequel e-publications followed, Neptune’s Angel and Guard Cat. In the process of all this, though I had not realised it at the time, I was enriching background world of this novel.

Finally the resistance to C.A.T. taking over the novel was futile. I changed him (notice C.A.T. has gone from it to him by this stage) to be the main point of view protagonist and did an overarching story arc for him to follow. But at least I had the background world-building fixed.

I started the novel further back in time than my original draft because there was an unexplained event in one of the main characters. That turned into the chapter called Space Blind. It was of a length that could be sent into the Writers of the Future short story (word limit 17,000 words), so I did. I had also worked out that a good way to keep me on schedule with writing the C.A.T.-novel was to send new chapters in to the competition on regular basis. I knew it would help me through what I call the doldrums part of writing the first draft. This is the 50% to 75% section where you’ve done most of the creative world-building, characterisation and plot development, and you know you have still got a long way to go to reach the end of the novel. Once over this doldrum part you are so close to the finish, you get really excited about finishing it, which carries you through to the end.

To my utter surprise and delight, the Writers of the Future gave me an honourable mention for Space Blind. It was a remarkable achievement because one fault from a short story point of view was there were a loose ends in it, which would be dealt with in subsequent chapters, and count against it in the judging. So I grinned, framed the certificate and continued writing the novel.

The next two main chapters followed the story arc of the original novel, with the second story Eternal Vigilance also gaining an Honourable Mention. I settled down to write the middle third of the novel, hoping that my plan would get me through the doldrums.

Then something weird happened in chapter 4, Dust in his Eyes. I found myself coming up with more background world building, admittedly in the details rather than the big picture. But they were important to the story line. It was only a detail here and another there. But I found the character of C.A.T. developing as a result. Guess what? Another Honourable Mention. I thought I had to be doing something right.

The inventiveness got worse in chapter 5, Hope Mosaic (which also received an Honourable Mention), and even crazier in chapter 6, Instinct of Logic. By this stage, C.A.T. had taken on a life of his own, and it felt like he was dictating the novel. He was now actually helping to change the space-scape with his story. I kept on thinking, I can’t put that into this novel and yep, it went in.

I have now reached chapter 7, entitled Unknown Unknowns. As nine chapters are planned, this is the 66% to 77% section. Finish this chapter and I would be truly out of the doldrum part. So far, it’s absolutely zinging with new-scape. I finish writing my current section, go off do other normal human things and then come back with a new thing to include in the story.

So what lessons can we learn from this experience:

  1. The ‘wisdom’ of saying that most of the creative development part of novel writing is over by the time you reach the halfway mark is total rubbish for science fiction.
  2. In the original version novel I had instinctively chosen my point of view character as the one who was learning about the world. Whilst useful in itself from a world-building view, it is very likely not the best option for bringing out the best in the novel. By all means write the earlier version until the point you are happy about the world-building, but be prepared to start the novel again from the point of view of the most interesting character in the novel. (This also happened in my MA Creative Writing novel.)
  3. Find ways of sticking to a reasonable timetable for writing a novel. I did this by insisting I had to put my chapters into the Writers of the Future contest. Other methods may work for other people. I suspect in the case of the more professional writers, contract deadlines act as a wonderful focus. But for those of us starting out on our novel writing careers, having something to help us keep up the momentum is not only useful, but almost a must.

Once I’ve found succinct summarised phrases for the above, I’ll put them in a separate post. But for now, the fuller explanation will, I hope, help other budding novelists. If there is only one conclusion you want to take away from this post its:

The process of writing science fiction novels is different from writing other types of novels.

The simple character of C.A.T. in the prequel stories has long since developed. But if you want to read about it / him in those early days, click on the images below to take you to Amazon UK.

 

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Does experimental science fiction exist?

Solstice Publishing has just published a standalone short story The Chaos of Mokii by Geoff Nelder. Like any author who is proud of such an achievement, he sent round e-mails to his friends to say effectively: ‘Look what I’ve done. Isn’t is great? I’m real chuffed about it!’ In his e-mail, he called it experimental science fiction. At that point I went: ‘Huh? Does such a thing exist?’

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Before we get into the theme of this post, let me define what I think is meant by experimental science fiction. It is science fiction that tries to break the mould of the traditional and current themes in science fiction. This includes taking extrapolations of current technology and seeing where it could be heading in the future in ways that have not been done before.

What it is not in my opinion is using techniques with words in new ways, unless those new ways reflect the new themes.

So does Geoff’s story qualify?

Well, let’s look at the blurb:

Mokii is a city that exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. It’s not easy to get past the bouncer but once Olga is inside she has to fight off intruders eager to take over the city for the lucrative virtual advertising.
A city that exists only in the minds of its inhabitants? Well that’s interesting. Is it an extension of The Matrix? Of course the story is different. But does it have new themes etc to make it experimental?
The story studies a world occupied by consciousness alone, i.e. the bodies do not really exist, nor do the sensory perceptions. So there’s a deviation immediately from the The Matrix – because sensory perceptions exist there. Hm, this is getting really interesting. 
Well, I won’t spoil it for you good people. Go and read it for yourselves.
But it does, in a way, align with what I was saying about the likely new science fiction trend being about Perspectives.
Of course, it is easier to cut out perspectives we are familiar with, than to make one up. Let me give an example of what I mean. We are all familiar with the five senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste. Some may add a sense of balance and being able to sense temperature. A few of you might add the sense of magnetism that pigeons and some other animals can navigate by or the chemical signals sent around the wood wide web. These are all senses we know from experience or have some information about (derived through observing the behaviours of third parties). Now what if I add being able to sense signals sent by quantum entanglement? How would an author describe that so that it made sense to the reader?
Of course, with these comments, you can see why I was so excited about Emma Geen’s The Many Selves of Katherine North.
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So yes, experimental science fiction does exist. But it won’t be in the big sellers’ lists. At the moment it is busy dissecting the senses and the viewpoints that arose out of a combination of senses different to our own.
I will add one addendum of my own. My C.A.T. series (including Agents of Repair) does touch on how software (for want of a better description) would sense other software. This particularly comes out in Neptune’s Angel.
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What’s going on?

There is a cartoon going the rounds showing the spines of diaries. The titles go something like this:

...2013, 2014, 2015, The Year Nobody Talks About, 2017, 2018…

Well this year has been awful on a personal front (no, I’m not going into details or I’ll have you all crying torrents) and in terms of world news. There have been so many high profile figures that have died this year, a trend we don’t seem to see the end of. The chaos of the Brexit vote, where to be frank, the politicians made this country and the EU a laughing stock in the rest of the world. Now, there has been the surprise election result in the USA, which has left the rest of the world wondering what’s going on there.

What is going on? What pesky evil spirit has been set lose on the world?

In a sense I feel the rest of the world is catching up with what the science fiction community has been seeing with Puppies sagas. The disaffected and forgotten have decided to kick up in the only ways they can think to vent their frustration at not getting what they want. In a small percentage of cases that want is more of a need rather than a desire. They’ve gone about it because they are so focussed on their want/need, that they miss how their actions will have ripple effects through other parts of society. They can’t think of anything else except to get rid of what is making them miserable.

Emotion is ruling practicality at the moment. That’s why so many people can’t make sense of what is going on worldwide. They either don’t understand what emotions are in play or that emotion is now King!

Things have calmed down in the science fiction world and indeed, the problems are being resolved to a certain extent. Well here is a site that gives what are considered the best novels of 2016 so far – note it’s their opinion.

Does anything say ‘buy me’ in that list?

Though there are some interesting books in that list, nothing generates the wow-factor for me.

This suggests to me that the science fiction community is in a far greater state of grabbling about for direction than normal. You know the kind of thing, e.g. just before the New Wave or Cyberpunk hit the bookshelves. This should not come as a surprise given that we are in a period that is concentrating on cross genres. My guess is that most if not all the interesting cross genres themes have explored and there is very little significant new stuff to say.

Below is a diagram that summarises the main science fiction trends over the years.

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So what could be new?

I’ll give one suggestion – Perspectives – looking at viewpoints other than human-centric. This would include the debut novel by Emma Geen – The Many Selves of Katherine North. This is a toe in the water of a different perspective for me. It starts that journey, but it is another vast area to fill in the science fiction canon.

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My short story AI Deniers in Explorations Through the Wormhole anthology hints at why other perspectives are important to explore. But it is only one different perspective.

More on perspectives will come with another post. In the meantime I’ve come to the conclusion that a robo-cat is an oxymoron.

Enlightening Science Fiction

Space is a normally a very dark place. Unless you are close to a star, you won’t see much light. That thought made me wonder what phenomena exist on Earth to change or generate light…

(1) Aurora – both the northern and southern lights. Here the solar wind interacts with the atmosphere to produce the lights. 20150409-10-sebastiansaarloos

(2) Rainbows – refraction through raindrops spreads white out to produce the different colours.

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(3) Bioluminescence – when plankton and fireflies become agitated, chemical reactions in their bodies produce light.images-2

(4) Firefall – Around the second week of February, the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall in Yosemite Park (USA) at just the right angle to illuminate the upper reaches of the waterfall. And when conditions are perfect, Horsetail Fall glows orange and red at sunset.

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(5) Persistent Luminescent Material – the first famous example was the Bologna Stone – It was discovered in 1603, at the base of a dead volcano near Bologna. When treated with heat, and exposed to sunlight, it would glow for hours—sometimes days. It was made by an Italian shoemaker Vincenzo Cascariolo.

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(6) Nasturtiums – here is a beautiful rumor about the unique and beautifully round and green leaves and the bright orange flowers of the T. majus nasturtium which the daughter of Carl Linnaeus and even Goethe have observed. They said that the leaves and flowers have the property of phosphorescence, and will even go so far as to actually emit electric sparks or flashes which are generally observed in the dim light of dusk. I personally have never seen such a thing but it was stated that “the whole leaf seemed to twinkle with points of light” (Phosphorescence p 80-82 by Thomas Lamb Phipson 1862) (Hm… no wonder some people believe in very small fairies… hm…)

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(7) Lightening – basically a discharge of ions through the air.

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Every one of these lightening phenomena has given rise to myths, legends or fairy tales because they were seen as acts of power. Think Thor, the God of Thunder for instance. They all belonged to the realm of things we did not understand.

And of course they can be an inspiration for science fiction. For instance, what can happen if you find a Bologna Stone on a starless planet and it starts glowing? You would have to ask where the triggering light came from and what cause that light to appear? Could it be triggered by the focussing of starlight for instance? Hm… I feel a short story coming on….

But talking of enlightening things, I’ve been watching the Amazon ratings on the recently published anthology Explorations: Through the Wormhole. (Well I do have an interest in the matter and have a thing about numbers!)

The anthology has and continues to be high up in the Amazon ratings in USA, Australia and Germany, but has dropped down in the UK ratings for about a week now. Not by that much, I hasten to add, but the difference between the UK Amazon and the others is noticeable.

It makes me wonder if the UK science fiction market has different tastes to the rest of the developed world. And if so just what are those differences?

I know it’s only one science fiction book, but it does beg the question.

And to end on a happier note… I received my certificate for the Honourable Mention in the 2nd Quarter of 2016 for my story ‘Dust in his Eyes’. Here’s the photo…

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This makes it three out of four chapters in my C.A.T. novel have got an Honourable Mention so far… Here’s a powerpoint-ish graphic to illustrate this and progress to date on the novel…

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It kind of looks encouraging for the novel, doesn’t it? It certainly helps spur me on to finish it… a kind of enlightenment on its own, because it says other people, independent of me, think the stories are good (especially given that each of the stories had lose ends as they were chapters, which would have lost them marks).

By Jove, from cold to hot!

I was going to be the garage waiting for my car to have a puncture repair, so I thought I’d take laptop and do some fiction writing – my C.A.T. novel to be precise. I was thoroughly enjoying writing about the laser shoot-out when the nice garage man mentioned it was a bit incongruous having a lady writing science fiction in a relatively ordinary garage. Well, I suppose he had a point – garages are so humdrum and science fiction is so exciting.

However, all science fiction should have at least a modicum of science in it. And there has been a whole slew of interesting announcements lately.

There’s that hotspot over at Jupiter i.e. the giant red spot has a high temperature. See here for more details. It does go some way towards explaining the higher than expected temperatures around Jupiter.

And going from hot to cold – apparently Jupiter’s moon, Io, has its atmosphere turn to frost and collapse every time it goes behind Jupiter into darkness. Once it emerges back into the sunlight the frost is melted back into atmosphere. It’s almost as if the moon were breathing. See here for more details. 

 

 

 

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Why all this interest in Jupiter on my part? Well it has another moon, Callisto. This is the closest place to Earth and the Moon where humans can inhabit the surface without problems of radiation. In other words it’s a much better place than Mars.

Talking of heat – they’ve discovered something new about fire.  See here for details. This new type of fire comes in the form of a blue fire tornado (now there’s a title for a science fiction novel if ever I heard one) and could be used to help cleanly clear up oil spills.

These science discoveries are all sources for a good piece of science fiction – go write!

Innovation and Science Fiction Trends

I came across an interesting paper written in 2004 about innovation. It looked at the innovations from 1453 (which the author calls the end of the Dark Ages). It can be found here. What it basically says is that innovation per head of population peaked in 1873 and is now being limited by lack of human brain power or constrained by economic considerations.

Yes I did write 1873 – when Queen Victoria was still on the throne. That was the year Jules Verne published “Around the World in Eighty Days”. His arguably most famous novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea” had only been published three years earlier, in 1870.

There have since been other papers published in 2010 and 2012 that have confirmed Jonathan Huebner’s finding on innovation trends. Huebner went on to predict that the level on innovation would reach the level of the Dark Ages in 2024 – only eight years away from now.

So what does this mean for science fiction?

If you look at an outline history of science fiction – its use of science ca be traced back the Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. But it science-based science fiction did not really take off until the pulp magazines introduced science fiction to a wider audience – from 1926 onwards. It had be particularly good run post World War II when there were a lot juvenile novels written to help teach physics. But from the 1960s onwards the science based science fiction tended to take more a back seat compared to other types of science fiction. So we have the peak of science-based science fiction very much lagging behind the peak of innovation  productivity – by about 70 to 80 years.

I would tentatively suggest that it takes about 70 to 80 years to make innovation, or at least the understanding of innovations, readily available to Joe Bloggs in the street.

It’s rather depressing to think that science-based science fiction will continue to decline in line with the lag in the innovation trend.

But there is a twist – or least there can be – if the science fiction publishing world are brave enough to take on the challenge. Before I go on to explain why, let me explain a little bit about science.

Science has one fundamental assumption behind it, namely that if the right set of conditions are set up, then the results are repeatable over and over again. This need for guaranteed repeatability has led to the theories being the minimal possible to describe what is going on. You only need to look at the history of the development of the laws of planetary motion to see this (i.e. going away from an Earth-centric theory to a Sun-centric theory, to a mass-centric theory). The theories describe what would happen and only what is guaranteed to happen.

What science does not do, is describe would could happen, but we can’t notice (for those familiar with the theory, look at the gauge theory in electromagnetism). Here multiple theories can abound and all of them be right!

What this means for science fiction is there is a plethora of worlds we cannot sense waiting to be explored (e.g. the different gauges in the electromagnetic theory). Whilst we can’t sense them directly, there is no reason why we can’t invent ways of sensing them and writing a story about this.

Whilst I have cited one example in physics where there is may be possible, there are a lot of others. Furthermore, this type of science fiction, whilst science-based, does not rely on innovation in itself to fuel the stories.

In the meantime, there will still be innovation happening worldwide, albeit at a reduced rate. So there is still material to write science-based science fiction.

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Of course, this whole argument changes when humans can get access to more resources. Innovation trends will only change if we can get into space at a cheap enough cost, which is why the development spacecraft such as the Skylon spaceplane is so important.

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Which is why I am rather pleased to see that the next stage of funding for its development has been recently released.

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This whole argument would in itself be a good basis for a science fiction story…. over to you….

In the footsteps of others…

Someone, who will remain anonymous, has recently described my science fiction as a mixture of William Gibson and Alfred Bester. It certainly is a weird mixture of thinking big and having to deal with detail. Hm!

I’m not going to argue – a person always sees themselves differently from others. After all, they have lived with themselves longer than anyone else and therefore know a lot more background about themselves.

When it comes to writing, an author knows how awful their writing was when they started and they know the route they took. A reader does not have the luxury of that background knowledge in any detail. So getting comments on how readers perceive your writing in a summary as good as this is a wonderful gift.

For one thing it can help an author analyse their writing and start to look where they can make improvements in their writing style. For another, it also gives them some idea of the markets they ought to submit to. (I’m still trying to think of a market that likes a mix of Alfred Best and William Gibson – and here is William Gibson talking about Alfred Bester.)

BESTER 1975 photo in Hell’s Cartographers 1975 credited to Jay Garfield no route to original but maybe good enough from book
BESTER 1975 photo in Hell’s Cartographers 1975 credited to Jay Garfield 

 

 

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Both have written about strange worlds – William Gibson invented the word ‘cyberspace’ – this alone should tell you something. Bester’s two most famous novels deals with telepathy in police procedural (The Demolished Man) and teleportation (The Stars My Destination). In fact the latter novel has been described as the ancestor of cyberpunk.

What both have in common is the ability to describe worlds based on radically different tenets and how they affect people. That is quite a legacy…

My Uranus novel has that touch of a new world (only to be fair I got greedy and tried to describe two new worlds in one novel). So I can understand the comparison. Only one problem. The anonymous commentator did not have access to any stories from my Uranus world. That person must have seen something in my ‘more ordinary’ science fiction that I did not realise was there.

Which makes me both pleased and rather humble to be compared style-wise to these two great writers.

But my writing seems to have some merit – my C.A.T. story, Dust in his Eyes, has received an Honourable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest. This is good going considering that it is chapter 4 of my C.A.T. novel and had two large loose ends at the end for novel reasons.

Description in Science Fiction

Science fiction deals with worlds that are beyond our present day experience, whether it be futuristic extrapolations of our lives on Earth, or made up worlds we will never reach, or universes that we can never possibly believe will happen but are nevertheless interesting to write about, or indeed some other variant.

They all involve the need to describe them, or at least those parts that are different from our own world. Writers cannot rely on the reader knowing what is different from every day experience. The only real exception is if the writer is dealing with a universe that has been written about before e.g. Star Trek.

What is exactly involved in description?

In any story, the description has to include the relevant facts that have an impact on the story. For instance, it is no good say Fred has a weapon. We don’t know whether it is a gun or a laser or a photon torpedo (by the way, who put torpedos in space?).  We have to know what that weapon will do or state what part of it will change the story.

Description has another function beyond saying what is in the world that changes the story. It can also give an atmosphere to a story. There is a difference between saying ‘the apple tree had a poisonous fruit’ and ‘the apple tree was laden with glowing mouth-watering fruits that should have been picked a couple of days ago.’ One states the function and the other lets you work out that there is something very wrong with the fruit. Unless the protagonist knows about the apples, the latter is the more likely description to be written.

There is one further layer to description. It can be written in such a way so as to give the protagonist’s mood. For instance, ‘Jane saw  the soft red glow of the moonlit lake’ is different to ‘Jane saw the bloodied water of the moon’s reflection in the lake.’ The first description is calm and peaceful, whereas the second is inducing fear in the reader because that is the way Jane views the lake.

So we now have three categories of description:

  • point of description that affects the story line
  • protagonist had the knowledge or had to work something from what he senses
  • producing at atmosphere for the protagonist and hence for the reader

Anything else is very likely to be padding or waffle.

This does not mean to say there can’t be tracts of description in one place in the story and its effect comes into play very later on the story. But if you do place the description away from the action or the protagonist working out something, then there has to be good reason for doing so.

If you look at descriptions in many good science fiction books, you’ll find they keep them tight. For example from Luna New Moon by Ian McDonald:

A third time Lucasinho wakes. His father stands at the foot of the bed. A short man, slight; dark and haunted as his older brother is broad and golden. Poised and polished, a pencil line of a moustache and beard, no more; perfect but always scrutinising to keep that perfection: his clothes, his hair, his nails are immaculate.

This description was on page 10 of my copy. During the rest of the novel we see the interplay between Lucasinho’s father and uncle follow the strategy outlined by the description here.

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British Science FIction after Brexit

Phew! What a tumultuous couple of weeks! Britain voted to leave the European Union. There will a period of reflection and once Article 50 is invoked a maximum of two years before Britain formally leaves the European Union. As to what terms that happens on is another matter.

At the moment the European Leaders are saying no free market access without the free movement of people. However, the leave vote was predominantly won on the issue of the migrants. So I don’t see how Britain’s government can accept the free market. To me, this confirms my suspicion that the European Union wanted to see Britain leave.

So what are the prospects for Britain outside the EU? Well economically speaking there will have to be belt-tightening, with higher taxes and government spending cuts, to pay for the increased interest on the loans to the UK. The weaker pound will mean higher prices for imported goods, while exports  and tourism to this country will increase. Scotland are again seriously contemplating independence (but are in a weaker position financially now than in 2014 when the oil price and hence hence revenues were higher). So that is a big question mark. There are similar big questions hanging over Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. If this was not so serious and sad, I would say we have had better entertainment than the Game of Thrones.

But what impact will Brexit have on British Science Fiction?

Well with the financial belt-tightening, it means there will be less science fiction book sales. This in turn will mean less books published by the publishers. And of course the publishers will be less willing to take risks on new authors.

Of course this trend will go across most of the book trade, and the entertainment business for that matter.

Those of you who know me, know there’s a but coming… well here it is… I have felt for some time that the traditional economic models are being slowly diverged away from. I can’t put my finger on it… but an example is that the FTSE 100 should not have closed above the level on Thursday evening when is was rising on the assumption that Bremain would win.

It’s time for science fiction to consider a different economic world order and what the impact would be. For instance if I was Prime Minister facing this situation, here’s some of the things I would do:

  1. I would look at the car industry and ‘do a Norway’ i.e. promise to have all new cars being electric cars from say 2025 onwards. That means getting the likes of whoever builds electric cars to set up a factory in this country for home produced electric cars.
  2. I would start to build some of the Severn tidal wave schemes to make us less dependent on energy sources from outside the UK. It would improve our balance of payments in the longer term (short term it would be negative, but I’m sure loans can be obtained for such capital projects). I’m sure there are similar schemes that can be set up elsewhere around the country. In the end I would like to see something like 20% of our energy come from this area of renewables. (This has the added advantage of giving the construction workers some work that would be lost to the reduced house-building that will come as a result of Brexit.)
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  3. The smart cities will be given a boost as most of the measures boil down to saving on money – we will start entering the modern era and it will be quicker than our European Union chums because we have more incentive.
  4. 3-D printing will become more prevalent because it will mean we will not have to wait for the spare parts coming from manufacturers around the world, including Europe. We can do interesting stuff now, but with the improvement in what the printers can do…
  5. There is more…

The point I’m making is that science and technology are going to help Britain’s economy. By forcing Britain out of the EU, it means the manufacturers and industry will have even more impetus to go down this road than the EU. So in the longer term I see Britain accelerating past the EU in economic terms.

Science fiction has an important role to play here. It gives people a better understanding of what is around the corner and how they can help themselves. Also it explores how our lives will change and this will help people understand their options much better.

So what I’m saying is that science fiction of the near future variety is needed now more than ever in this country. But don’t expect it to come from the big publishers in the short term as they are worried about profits. Now is the time for the small independent presses who are willing to to a risk on new authors.

 

 

Cyber Control and More Celestial News

I am absolutely delighted that Kraxon magazine have published my latest story – Cyber ControlThey’ve chosen a very apt picture to go with the story… 🙂 🙂 :)… and much to my delight they’ve chosen a picture banner that makes me and even C.A.T. purr with delight…. it’s so purrfect….

My thanks go to the editor and his team for accepting the story.

In other news – a whole host of news has been announced about Rosetta comet 

  1. The comet contains the building blocks of life i.e. amino acids
  2. The comet also creates its own weather
  3. The two distinct lobes that make are look like a misshapen dumbbell are in fact two comets that break apart, orbit each other and then merge

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(C.A.T. here – that’s no surprise to me… my author predicted similar processes for 2 and 3 in one of my stories – the one that got the honourable mention from the Writers of the future contest – purr…)

And finally New Horizons results about Pluto continue to come in – the latest is that the heart of Pluto is nitrogen ice (with the odd splash of methane and carbon dioxide) is being turned by heat generated by radioactive materials at the heart of the dwarf planet.

As for planet X – the one that’s suspected of existing beyond the orbit of Neptune – the wise and the good suspect it might have been stolen from another star – see here for details.